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Laptop as your main computer

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Oliver Peters
Laptop as your main computer
on Jul 15, 2017 at 1:06:21 am

Looking for opinions from those who have done the comparisons. Using a newish, loaded MBP as your main computer versus an older cheese grater MP. Figure the laptop would have an external display and some external drives. How would the MBP compare? FCPX? Premiere Pro? Resolve?

Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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andy patterson
Re: Laptop as your main computer
on Jul 15, 2017 at 1:43:12 am

I used to edit with full tower computers until about 2002. In 2002 I started using mid towers. In 2005 I sold all my desktop computers and only used a laptop until about 2006. In 2006 HDV started to become popular so I invested in a desktop computer since the laptops really could not compete with the desktops for editing HD. For SD my laptop worked OK. Since 2006 we have seen AVCHD and Red One R3D files become popular. I think I will build my last desktop computer in another 5-6 months and in another 3-4 years from now I imagine the Tablet PCs will have 8 and16 core CPUs. There will not really be a need for a graphics card so why not get something really small and portable (tablet instead of a laptop). I plane on using a MS Surface Pro (or knock off) as my main editing system in another 3-4 years from now. I just don't think the tablet PC or laptops can keep up with my desktop as of now. That should change soon now that AMD is offering some serious competition for Intel. I wonder if other people plan on using a Windows tablet as their main NLE in another 2-3 years from now?


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Bill Davis
Re: Laptop as your main computer
on Jul 15, 2017 at 2:41:01 am

I suspect the modern MacBookPro would run rings around and Cheesegrater unless it was some hot-Rodded beast that somebody has sunk $$$ into in constant RAM/GPU upgrades.

These modern Apple laptops Appear to be MUCH practically faster than their mere specs imply - at least running X. Apparently AVID and Premiere are simply not as optimized from everything I've read.

Knowing Thomas Grove Carter reasonably well and having chatted with him a good bit and even watched over his shoulder as he's cut on the road - it has appeared to me that he has NO performance issues of any kind while working on large/dense projects via his MacBookPro.

Upgraded GPUs and big SSDs seem to make the largest difference in expanding laptop editing capacity - but when TGC was cutting live at NAB For his Supermeet demo - his totally stock MacBook Pro was crazy quick with the whole BMW and Ed Sheeran source pool on IIRC a 4TB External SSD.

He's had nothing but praise for the laptop approach when I've talked to him.

You might expect stuff like long form to be more challenging - but my friends like Ryan and Mads at Metronome in Denmark have done tons of episodic TV on older iMacs that are barely faster than the latest MacBook Pros. Raids are the key there and AFAIK USB C/TB3 attach as easily to a MacBook as to an iMac.

I'm sure processing or rendering out really massive layered rasters still requires all the processor grunt you can hook up to. So access to a shop style rig for mastering is maybe smart if you want to do big projects - but the editing really doesn't seem to be a very big deal much anymore.

I don't do stuff that complex, only working regularly with 4K stuff for HD web delivery - not the big rasters or deep color stuff yet - but I doubt I'll ever own another desktop rig.

I've recycled too many big expensive CRTs and flat screens already over the years!

YMMV.

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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Noah Kadner
Re: Laptop as your main computer
on Jul 15, 2017 at 3:08:34 am
Last Edited By Noah Kadner on Jul 15, 2017 at 3:10:15 am

I'd say if you're used to Mac Pro performance, the 15 inch MBP + eGPU pretty much makes the case (so to speak). Even in High Sierra beta it's pretty compelling. Just plan on dropping another $500-1000 for the enclosure plus a good card and then you'll have the best of both worlds. Portability and desktop-grade firepower when you need to dock.

Noah

FCPWORKS - FCPX Workflow
FCP Exchange - FCPX Workshops
XinTwo - FCPX Training


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andy patterson
Re: Laptop as your main computer
on Jul 15, 2017 at 4:13:55 am

[Bill Davis] "
I'm sure processing or rendering out really massive layered rasters still requires all the processor grunt you can hook up to. So access to a shop style rig for mastering is maybe smart if you want to do big projects - but the editing really doesn't seem to be a very big deal much anymore."


Unless you do over the shoulder editing for clients who want to see 6K or 8K at full resolution. Who knows in another 10 years we may have true hologram editing systems that will once again make me invest in a desktop computer until the mobile devices catch up.


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Scott Witthaus
Re: Laptop as your main computer
on Jul 15, 2017 at 12:24:45 pm

Oliver -

My MBP is my main system. I use, however, a Henge dock to clean things up. I then connect my Promise array to the dock, via Tb connection, and the monitor via the display connector. Mouse and keyboard via usb on monitor. These docks are not cheap, but using it, I rarely even think "I am editing on a laptop" because I never see the laptop and it cleans up my work area. Just a monitor, mouse and keyboard on my desk.

https://hengedocks.com/pages/vertical-macbook-pro-retina

Scott Witthaus
Owner, 1708 Inc./Editorial
Managing Partner, Low Country Creative LLC
Professor, VCU Brandcenter


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Erik Lindahl
Re: Laptop as your main computer
on Jul 15, 2017 at 1:43:23 pm

I'd say it depends on what you do.

For my workflow doing primarily TVC finishing a MacBook Pro would be a disaster, a nMP or Cheesegrader works much better. Then again I barely touch FCPX and primarily work in After Effects / Premiere / Resolve. For the latter, a MacBook Pro barely cuts it - heck my nMP 8-core / D700 often barely cuts it.

So a laptop wouldn't be a replacement. The current top-end iMacs come close as a viable solution, the coming iMac Pro might be a terrific option.


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Erik Lindahl
Re: Laptop as your main computer
on Jul 15, 2017 at 1:46:46 pm

I could add for pure editing tasks a MBP would be fine. But in this scenario I'd rather go with an iMac. Faster, better screen and probably quieter.


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Joe Marler
Re: Laptop as your main computer
on Jul 15, 2017 at 2:03:59 pm

[Oliver Peters] "Looking for opinions from those who have done the comparisons. Using a newish, loaded MBP as your main computer versus an older cheese grater MP. Figure the laptop would have an external display and some external drives. How would the MBP compare? FCPX?"

I have a top-spec 2016 MBP, 2015 and 2017 iMac 27, and just finished testing a 12-core Mac Pro D700 on FCPX 10.3.4 and some on Premiere CC 2017.1.2. Below are some numbers. In general I greatly prefer a desktop machine to a laptop except where portability is absolutely required. Even with an external monitor for the laptop, the desktop is generally faster and quieter. That said, in one test my 2016 MBP was faster on FCPX than my 2015 top-spec iMac 27, but the 2017 iMac 27 was yet faster. For those who must do significant editing in the field, there are some good laptops.

FCPX BruceX benchmark:

iMac 27: 26.9 sec
Mac Pro: 17.0 sec
2017 iMac 27: 15.8 sec
2016 MBP i7: 36.2 sec

FCPX timeline render, Neat Video 4.5.5 NR on 31 sec XAVC-S 4k (after using Neat Video optimization to select best CPU/GPU combination):

2013 Mac Pro (12 cores and 2x D700 GPUs used): 6 min 58 sec
2015 iMac 27 (5 cores and M395X GPU): 9 min 7 sec
2017 iMac 27 (7 cores and R9 580 GPU): 8 min 3 sec
2016 MBP i7 (5 cores and Radeon Pro 460 GPU): 12 min 12 sec

FCPX Import & create proxies for ten XAVC-S 100 mbps H264 4k files from Sony A7RII, total media duration 11 min 43 sec

2015 iMac 27: 5 min 37 sec
2017 iMac 27: 2 min 40 sec
2016 MBP: 3 min 46 sec
(I didn't do this on the Mac Pro but other similar tests show it is 1.9x slower than the 2017 iMac i7 on this task)

FCPX and Premiere CC: Export 1 min 51 sec 4k H264 XAVC-S media from timeline to single-pass 20 mbps H264 4k output

FCPX, 2015 iMac 27 i7: 1 min 21 sec; CPU levels: moderate, noise & heat: low
FCPX, 2017 iMac 27 i7: 1 min 8 sec; CPU levels: moderate, noise & heat: low
FCPX, 2016 MBP i7: 1 min 24 sec; CPU levels: moderate, noise & heat: low

Premiere, 2015 iMac 27 i7: 4 min 43 sec; CPU levels: high, noise & heat: high
Premiere, 2017 iMac 27 i7: 4 min 11 sec; CPU levels: high, noise & heat: high


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Oliver Peters
Re: Laptop as your main computer
on Jul 15, 2017 at 2:13:41 pm

Thanks. Those numbers are helpful.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Laptop as your main computer
on Jul 15, 2017 at 4:41:00 pm

What are the specs of the cMP and MBP? IIRC eGPU is only going to be officially supported via ThB3. Barefeats has lots of good comparisons between different Macs. http://barefeats.com/


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Oliver Peters
Re: Laptop as your main computer
on Jul 15, 2017 at 4:58:56 pm

[Andrew Kimery] "What are the specs of the cMP and MBP? "

The Mac Pro is an early-2009 (terminal update to 2010)
2 x 2.26 Xeon Quad (8 core total)
28GB RAM
Radeon HD7950
Drives upgraded to SSD

The MacBook Pro is a 15" mid-2014 Retina (bought 2015)
1 x 2.8 Core i7 Quad
16GB RAM
Nvidia 750m in addition to the Iris Pro
SSD

No plans to add eGPU.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Erik Lindahl
Re: Laptop as your main computer
on Jul 16, 2017 at 7:23:40 am

2017 5K iMac vs 15" MacBook Pro Video Editing - FCX Premiere & Resolve 14






The MBP 2017 does lag behind or very far behind an iMac 2017.

It again depends on what you do and if you'll notice it. As soon as processing of media or effects is involved, a MBP will be slower or much slower. If you're primarily editing / transferring media it should be pretty much on-par.

Applications like Resolve or plugins like Neat Video might "break" on lesser hardware like a MBP - especially doing higher resolution work. Also if working with RAW, especially RED, you'll start to AE the CPU of the iMac being a bottleneck as well.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Laptop as your main computer
on Jul 29, 2017 at 6:10:22 pm

So, at least for now, I've decided to run the 2015 15" MBP as the main computer. It's generally a better performer than the 2009 MP, even with its upgrades. Most of my work doesn't involve heavy rendering on the home projects, but the 2009 MP is set off to the side if I need it.

The main display is a 27" UltraSharp Dell. I'm shifting my working methods to stay with a single screen layout for most work. More minimalist and focused. I opted to get both a BookArc cradle-style stand for the laptop and a Rain laptop stand, so I still have the ability to shift between single and dual display working styles, when the project warrants.

Other peripherals include an OWC Thunderbolt 2 dock for drives and other connections, PreSonus Audiobox USB (plus Mackie mixer and speakers) for sound, keyboard, mouse, TimeMachine drive and external G-Tech media drive.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Oliver Peters
Re: Laptop as your main computer
on Jul 30, 2017 at 8:15:17 pm

As a slight aside, I'm doing some multicam 1080 editing today on this set-up. Premiere does tend to kick on the fans a lot. Especially when shuttling at 2X through a multicam sequence. In comparing the same media and process, FCPX kicks them on less often, but still kicks them on. FWIW - at work we are also seeing this with iMacs, but definitely not the "trash can" Mac Pro. That one is relatively quiet at all times.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Scott Thomas
Re: Laptop as your main computer
on Jul 30, 2017 at 8:31:00 pm

Where I work I upgraded a 2009 Mac Pro from 8 cores to 12. The chips are pretty cheap now.
The next step is to switch out the Radeon for a Nvidia GTX 1080. The editors are using Premiere, so that should improve things for them. The main goal was to get another year out of the machine and wait for whatever Apple has in the pipeline for the Mac Pro.


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Steve Connor
Re: Laptop as your main computer
on Aug 2, 2017 at 8:51:09 am

[Oliver Peters] "FCPX kicks them on less often, but still kicks them on. FWIW - at work we are also seeing this with iMacs, but definitely not the "trash can" Mac Pro. That one is relatively quiet at all times."

I've just switched to a 2015 MBP as well and I'm seeing the fans kick in a lot when working with 4K in FCPX. Very impressed with the performance though so a little fan noise is a price I'm happy to pay.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Laptop as your main computer
on Aug 2, 2017 at 12:27:57 pm

[Steve Connor] "working with 4K in FCPX. Very impressed with the performance"

My experience with this machine is that X deals with 4K fine, but Premiere tends to drop frames in playback or plays every other frame in a real time stream.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Steve Connor
Re: Laptop as your main computer
on Aug 2, 2017 at 2:25:52 pm

[Oliver Peters] "My experience with this machine is that X deals with 4K fine, but Premiere tends to drop frames in playback or plays every other frame in a real time stream.
"


I'm finding that too, ironically, considering how poor its realtime performance used to be on lower end systems, Resolve now works flawlessly with 4K.


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